Photo Courtesy of Mathieu LehanneurFish aquariums are nothing new, but we're willing to bet your aquarium full of bored goldfish doesn't double as a self-sustaining ecosystem. French designers Mathieu Lehanneur and Anthony van den Bossche created Local River to eliminate the barrier between people and their environment, bringing sustainable food production to living rooms everywhere. Aside from it being pretty cool looking, it's one fish tank you won't have to clean.
A home storage unit of sorts for fish and vegetables, Local River was inspired by the Locavores who began popping up in San Francisco in 2005. Referred to as a group of "culinary adventurers who eat foods produced in a radius of 100 miles around their city," Locavores strive to minimize their impact on the world by staying away from food that is shipped. Lehanneur and Bossche predicted a future influence of this group and designed Local River to get a jump on things.
Local River is a DIY "fish-farm-cum-kitchen-garden" that houses many types of large freshwater fish — even eels — while plants grow in glass spheres above. Based on the principal of aquaponics — which is a sustainable food production system that brings aquaculture (raising aquatic animals in tanks) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) together — Local River relies on the symbiotic relationship between plants and fish. In layman's terms, the plants live off the nutrients in the water left by the fish, while purifying the water and enabling the fish to survive. The very same balance is used in much larger-scale fish farms that float trays of planted lettuce on the surface of tilapia ponds.
"Local River responds to everyday needs for fresh food that is 100% traceable. It bets on a return to favor of farm-raised freshwater fish (trout, eel, perch, carp, etc...), given the dwindling supplies of many saltwater species due to over-fishing," says Lehanneur.
The designers wanted Local River to be an alternative to the standard (boring) fish tanks found in homes, while still meeting a great demand as a fully-functional refrigerator. What better way to guarantee the freshness of your fish than growing it yourself? "In this scenario, fish and greens cohabit for a short time in a home storage unit before being eaten by their keepers, the end-players in an exchange cycle within a controlled ecosystem."
Thankfully, even if you don't want to use it as a source of food, Local River is a really neat design and would be a great way to show off to your friends. If you do like the farm fresh angle though, just be careful because if you're anything like me, you'll have those fish named within an hour and will have a hard time knocking them out in the kitchen.
The large measures in at 64x29x39 inches and costs around $15,990. The small version will fit in a space that's 29x18x36 inches and costs around $9,900.